Eye in the Sky Oct 2005

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Oct 10th-Oct 17th Algodonales by Steve Phillips



Arrived late Mon evening/Tues morning I think everyone got their heads down. Tues was raining so I did the best thing and started getting pissed in the bar, soon after I was joined by El Capitano (Pete `charming` Chalmers), Sean and Neil. Can't remember much more that day, Wed was a non flyable day also so I went for a run and we eventually ended up in the bar again!

Thurs it was flyable, hurray I was getting a bit stir crazy. We flew at El Bosque. Before any of our group had taken off a young girl had a big collapse about 50 ft above take off, she got away with it. That put a lot of people off so I reluctantly stepped up. It was very unstable, thermals were punchy at times and quite often I flew out of them as I wasn't too keen. Couple of times I got pinned above the ridge and used speed bar and big ears to fly forward and down. It was a good day once I got used to the thermals.

The other three flyable days were at Lejar, the mountain behind Algo. The most memorable time was an evening flight, thermals were fairly non existent and I thought it would be a top to bottom. I flew forward and saw a vulture, the resident birds on the mountain, he was in a light thermal so I joined him. I entered it the same direction and height I was looking across as he craned his long neck around to look at me in the evening sunlight. I started to laugh, life couldn't get any better than this could it? Just me and him in the air, it was magic.

Other memorable times for me was reaching 5000ft asl and then being out climbed by sky goddess Jill Legras. Also thermaling with Neil was peachy above the flat plains. I didn't want to come down. Watching Pete's wing overs from the air were pretty impressive too.

Not so good times, well there were many, but for me it was my crap take off in front of Baz Rodes, the resident school instructor who said, `you know what was wrong with that don't you, it was crap!' He was right off course but i didn't need to be reminded but I managed to stay in my harness rather than going over there to chin him.

It was a good trip with 4 days flying out of 7, I managed to clock up 8 hrs 41 mins, topped 5 grand in height, spent £550 all in,scarred my self silly( russels driving) and got a free reserve repack from Neil. Thanks to all those on the trip for making it so memorable.


 

Report by Roy Menage

 

A good time was had by all at Greolieres thanks to Andrew Pearse, John Stuck and Mike Drew. The posse were Chris Dimberline, Tony Turner, Martin Harris, Bill Pyn, Gary Dowzell, Andy Hill, James Thomas and myself. Kai Coleman joined us later for the fun. We flew every day and had some awesome flying at Greolieres, La Chens (S), Gourdon and Monaco. The highlight for me was the 2500 ft height gain to base above takeoff at Greolieres up the side of the mountain in about 3 minutes. And that was just the first day. Monaco was also an exciting flight. The east wind gave turbulent conditions and powerful thermals that scared me silly. After 5 minutes of that I decided I had enough and landed on the beach (20 minutes later). Others that day had a rougher time of it with Bill narrowly missing a swim when he got pinned and could not make the beach. An inspired bit of flying meant he landed on a high rock the size of a dustbin. Unfortunately he did not manage to keep the tip of the wing out of the water and it took Bill, Kai and myself 20 minutes to pull it out. Other days were far more friendly, with one exception. Tuesday it started raining at La Chens so I decided to land. I chose to use big-ears to burn off some height but when I released them, the wing went into deep-stall and I landed somewhat harder than I would have wanted. I was very thankful for a good layer of back protection foam. (So here's a tip... don't use ears in the rain!)

Altogether, a fantastic experience and I can't wait to get back again next year to try some of the sites we missed out on this time. Ben and Karen Moss made us all feel very welcome. I don't think you could choose a better place to visit if you want some late autumn flying.

Report by Richard Barber

Video1   Video2

I have just returned from a splendid incident free 10 days in Turkey and given some of the press the place has got recently, thought that a few of you might be interested in my findings. This was my second trip, my first was in May doing SIV with Jocky while a couple of friends learned to fly from scratch at the same time. I did one flight at the end of that holiday with Semih having watched him teach my friends with great care and enthusiasm. I was impressed by the quality of the pre and post brief at the time and the clarity of the radio instructions, which is why I looked him up this time.

SAFETY

1. Everyday I was there, the slightly beaten up vehicle that is supposed to pass for an ambulance was at the top of the hill with the doctor in attendance on at least ½ those days - that is how often I saw him, but I wasn't looking for him, he could well have been there everyday.

2. In 10 days I saw 6 pilots land in the water, all were reached by boats within 30 seconds of splashdown, they were not doing SIV so were not expected to land in the water. However it was reassuring that all the boats nearby stopped what they were doing to go and help immediately.

3. I spoke at length with Sky Sports and with Semih about the bad press that OluDeniz has been getting and they are trying to sort out a viable solution to ensure adequate cover for all pilots visiting. Ideally they want to register all pilots with a pass, without which transport up the mountain will be impossible and will only be issued on production of some sort of flying license or logbook.

4. The road up the mountain was widened and was considerably smoother than in May and the journeys up certainly seemed less stressful to me!

WEATHER

1. Pretty perfect, 25*C - 30*C everyday, with a few afternoons overdevelopment on the mountain.

2. Good thermals, but a little rough on a few days due to convergence of sea breeze and north easterly prevailing wind that meant that we were flying leeside and had the pleasure of descending through a weak shear layer on the way to the sea.

3. The seawater was still very warm.

INSTRUCTION

Being under the wing (so to speak) of a local instructor was really helpful in that whenever I went up the mountain, the tandem guys and the drivers all made sure that I got off quickly, when it was busy they also helped layout my wing and really kept an eye to make sure I was okay. This was the case throughout my stay even when I wasn't doing training. This increased the value of the flights I did with Semih further.

In total I did 4 training flights under radio guidance from Semih and had a 5th planned, but unfortunately the weather did not play ball for that. We basically worked on my SATs, Spins, stalls, wingovers and the resultant tucks. By the end of my stay I was pretty happy to practice all the manoeuvres on my own. I found the briefings before and after the flights to be very informative and the radio instruction was very clear and calm, as before. If I didn't understand why something happened, he took as long as necessary to make sure that I did.

In comparison to the course I did with Jocky, my opinion was that the quality of the pre and post flight briefings was just as good and very similar in style. However, this was not an SIV course, but a series of flights working on particular skills that I felt would be useful to my general flying.

Obviously not everything went perfectly, I managed to spin on the entry into 4 SATs But once I got them sorted they were fine. I managed spin a wingover when I got overzealous that resulted in a 50% cravat that came out after some persuasion and a bit of luck ( I was not under instruction at the time) just practicing. I found that when everything went to hell, especially spinning the wing, stalling was a reliable way of regaining control, but towards the end of my stay I was working on trying to sort things out without doing so. Semih kindly pointed out that there could be occasions when I won't have the height to stall and therefore it is best to have other tools in the box so as not to rely on them completely.

THE NON FLYING BIT

My girlfriend and I stayed at the Flying Dutchman which had clean air conditioned rooms and cost £28 per night B&B for both of us, a nice swimming pool and friendly staff. The music stopped at midnight which was a little late for me, but given everything else it didn't matter. During the time I wasn't paragliding we spent time in the Buzz bar friendly TV free bar on the promenade, on the beach, shopping and by the pool. Leanda enjoyed herself and didn't feel like a complete parawidow most of the time. She did a tandem (was sick after thermalling for an hour), we went to Butterfly valley and Kiya (abandoned Greek village) which was really interesting to walk around, but the best bit for her was finding a tortoise.

Food

There was a massively wide range of offerings from the “Asda Bacon and Tesco Sausage” through to romantic spots away from the crowds overlooking the bay costing as much as London.

Overall, I thought the trip was worthwhile and definitely still an option that should be considered for those wanting a holiday that fits both pilots and there non flying families. Below is an outline of the costs for those interested.

Costs

Flights £200

Transfers £35 (each, less if more people)

Accommodation £140 (each ten days)

Transport & forestry £12.50 (getting to takeoff)

Instruction flights £35 per flight - based on 4 flight package - Boat mandatory for first SIV courses and if deemed necessary!

Kind regards,

Richard

PS Semih teaches ACRO XC & SIV, he is a PWC pilot on the committee. He teaches all of these skills whenever he is not competing and has done for several years.

PPS I do not regret doing SIV with Jocky and would highly recommend his course to anyone interested in doing SIV, especially the first time.



 

Mon 17 Oct 05

Report by Marcus Webster

Eventually the actual at Bournemouth Airport was giving 180` at 8 knots having been too easterly all morning so I headed over to Swanage for the long walk up to ballards.
Arrived at the top at about 3.15pm to find the place deserted and the wind very easterly , about 60` off the south facing takeoff (Bournemouth were still giving 160` !).

I unpacked and got my wing up above my head but it just felt too easterly and being a bit of a wimp I packed up and started the walk back when a very hot and Bothered looking Dave winn and Mark Pryce appeared over the crest and persuaded me that it was do-able . I`m glad they did as I had a very pleasant and smooth 30 min flying the small cliffs infront of the town and hotels followed by a beach landing.


 

Sunday 16th October 2005

Report By Sean Staines

With an easterly wind and a frontal system expected in the west it looked like a day to get the motor out.

Nick LeGras and I took off from Hook near Basingstoke at 12pm with a plan of going as far west as possible before the fuel ran out. 2Hrs later with fuel running low we decided to land in a good field as the terrain downwind was looking increasingly uninviting for a forced landing, with steep valleys and a strong dynamic component.

Having reached speeds up to 80kmh it was no surprise that the final straight line distance was 110km, landing at Stratton on the Fosse near Shepton Mallet. Excellent!

Highlights on route included passing Highclere Castle, Coombe Gibbett, the windmill and pumping station at Crofton, the Kennet & Avon Canal with all its locks at Devizes, Milk Hill and the White horses along the escarpment.

It was surprisingly thermic in places considering the high level cloud with lift up to 4m/s in places and equally strong sink.

Half an hour after being retrieved the frontal system opened up the heavens so we definitely had the best of the day.


Sun 9 Oct 2005

Report by Alastair Florence

No wind at all first thing, then Easterly towards the bay and Westerly along the valley with nothing in between. By 11.30 a bit of order was taking place with a S-SSW settling down and an incredible looking sky. As the day developed it looked the best XC sky I'd seen for weeks and me and Mike D kicked ourselves for not going to White Horse, it must have been XC able surely ??

Any way I went to Knitson closely followed by Mike D. It must have been the best day I have ever had on this site. My first launch saw me lock straight into a climb to just under 1000ft ato. I spotted a bird in front climbing well and thought I'd have some of that, what I didn't realise was that the bird must have been big earing or something as I smacked straight into the probably the most violent thermal I have ever hit (reading 11 up on the vario) ( not that I read it until later) Mike asked if I could have thermalled in it. Yeah right, all I could think about was getting out of it, which happened as violently as my entry with the canopy dropping back to the verge of stalling, I remember thinking I wonder how many feet I need to recover if it stalls but no worries anyway. Wicked fun!! I was physically shaking for about 10 mins after.

So many thermals you just couldn't avoid climb after climb. If only there wasn't airspace a few KM's down wind.

I flew up to Corfe thinking maybe with a climb out from here I could get round airspace, but the lift was not so good here and a bit rough. I think the slight Westerly element was causing the wind to slip along the ridge here and rotoring off the Castle, the last few hundred metres seemed to be almost into wind. Flew back except for one short stretch where the ridge disappears and there's an unsheathed power line !! with very little height it seemed best to walk this bit..

Mean while Mike was having fun too. We set a challenge of either going over Ulwell gap onto Ballards, along to Corfe or XC to Brownsea. Mike opted for the Corfe run and made it about 3/4 of the way. I went for the Ulwell gap, Got over no problem and the best part of the way to the Whitecliff's. The wind was too far West for the cliffs to be soarable so turned my attention to getting back. I made it half way back over the gap landing out behind Ulwell caravan park. 10 mins walk back up the hill and into the air again. Still a cracking sky but a bit softer now, went home about 5 ish still well flyable. A brilliant day.

Report by RW

Ringstead was "as good as it gets" today. At times strong but penetrable, thermic & a good deal of South in it. Several out & backs along the coast to Lulworth, accompanied by Nigel "Effing Legend" S,Sky God Adrian C,. In ten years of flying this was Martin Hs' first time around the corner, his call was "Can we get back?" Answer " Yes". Phew!! Alan W was another first - timer Ooops (Kirsten will fix it.) I bombed out on the transition a couple of times as did others but I won't embarass them. A great day with sea thermals allowing 800'+ ATO & the opportunity to lose height with all sorts of methods. others, Steve B ( First-Timer) went home early to do the "Allotment"?, Steve P, Peter C, Derek S,Roger E,Dave T,Keith B, Keith W, Brian M, Apologies to anyone I did not mention.

We could also see a lot of fun being had at Whitehorse, hope this indicates a good winter of flying. See you when we get back from Spain next week.


 

28th sept to 5th Oct

Tolmin Slovenia Report by Mark Fsher

 

Another of Andrew Pearce`s Flying Frenzy Trips this time to Slovenia.

Despite the fact they`ve had some terrible weather in this part of Europe this year we got 2 good flying days , 1 top to bottom day and with cheap food, beer and wine @£5 a gallon from the winery, 7 great partying days. Beautiful countryside and beautiful Slovenian women brightened up the dull days as did the white water rafting and caving.

Flying from Kabala 1080m amsl we all had our best thermalling experiences so far, i got over 5500ft agl Paul Knibbs had similar gains Gail Otton got 3700ft agl on her first flight since passing CP. Parick Warnes CP+2 and Jon Fletcher who lost his red ribbon also enjoyed their first thermic flights.There was talk of doing an XC if we could all go together and it would have been possible for Andrew and Sam Moffett our genial host The weather turned for the worse we did top to bottoms on one other day at Lijak.

All in all a brilliant holiday, to be repeated next year.

For those interested for somewhere to stay Sam Moffett`s is a 5 min walk from LZ.
www.sloveniaretreat.com


Fri 7 Oct 05

Report by RW

BEER HEAD, DEVON
Early morning call from Condor's Acro King, Paul H, had me travelling the extra distance to Beer. My last visit saw several Pilots descending to the beach after a days flying. After a deluxe prawn sandwich at Paul's Hotel I managed a full 3 minutes at Beer Head! An improvement at least, Bob M & John P had managed an hour of the Coastal Run prior to our arrival so a good day for some. I am optimistic for the future, it can only get better. So now its get ready for Algodonales with the Wessex Posse on Monday for
a weeks flying ( jolly to some).


Tues 5 Oct 2005

Report by Alastair Florence

About 10.00 hrs Blue patches were appearing over Bryanston and the day was looking promising. By 11.00 hrs it had turned back to #hite. Low total cloud cover. Still I headed up to Monks at lunchtime anyway, it was cold, dull, damp and uninspiring although the wind was on and a flyable strength. Ron S was wrapping up after having a fly. After thinking about it for a bit I decided it just wasn't worth getting the wing wet and went back to work. We finished work at a reasonable time tonight so I nipped up to Okeford on the way home. Still dull, damp, low total cloud cover, miserable and murky looking but a decent wind in right direction so I thought I'd have a quick fly. Reasonably bouyant with no fear of going down although the air had a feel like it was going to do something nasty to you althgough it didn't. I had enough after 20 mins and flipped back over the top for a comfortable landing by the beacon. You should try some more of these under-used sites people, they're not always that bad.


 

Sun 2 Oct 2005

Report by Roger Edwards

Flying? What's that then? A quick review of my September showed not one day on the hill, and this weekend was giving October an unpromising start. I had pretty much written off the day as being blown out but decided to go and get some fresh air anyway, and why not throw the wing in the car; the day could surprise us yet.

Dorchester via Maiden castle - way off. Friend in Dorch not at home so why not look at Telegraph. A few Condors there but still with strong gusts coming through and off to north. Marcus W called saying Monks was too far off and he was going to Bell, so that seemed a sensible detour. Arrived to find two or three in the air already - a mystery pilot on a Firebird Spider was getting some reasonable height.

Conditions were very pleasant, though no great height to be had, but there was only a half-hour window before it dropped off bringing us down. Still, we all felt better for getting our feet off the ground. The mystery pilot turned out to be Harry, trying out a demo Spider and loving it. Keith W was also present, and a couple whose names I don't know (apologies).


Lake Ohrid Macedonia

Report by RW

   

 

An amazing week with "Lemmings", Sean L , Neil H & King of Acro, Mendo. Safety flying at your pace in excellent surroundings. The " Posse' " were a mixed bunch at different levels of competency. Individuals doing things like backwards flying, stalls & spins, spirals & sats for others swimming was a must-do activity. Sean, Neil & Mendo made this trip an experience to be repeated.


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